Do nothing and the club will die
By Nigel Dean
Saturday 1st March 2008
THE turbulent history of Weymouth Football Club took another
twist this week.
Owner Malcolm Curtis announced in a statement that his company
Wessex Park Limited have taken over control of the land surrounding
the Wessex Stadium and injected £500,000 into the Terras'
The ground and all its facilities remain in full control
of the football club and the future of the Wildcats speedway
team remains unaffected.
The property developer says action had to be taken to secure
the short, medium and long-term future of the club. He states
the club was losing £10,000 a week when he took over
last October and that figure has been reduced to only' £7,000
He says surprisingly that the club is carrying a significant
debt. I was under the impression that when former chairman
Mel Bush left, that the Terras were debt-free.
Wessex Park will have the option to acquire the stadium in
return for providing a new purpose-built stadium elsewhere.
On the surface this all seems to be positive news but this new
development does raise a vast array of unanswered questions.
The £500,000 handed over to the club is a small fortune
for a club of Weymouth's size but has the club been sold short?
Especially as that sum will only cover the weekly debt for
approximately 18 months.
A fair few number of shareholders will probably be wondering
why they didn't get a voice or were not informed about the
They will also be questioning why there was a need to transfer
the land over to Wessex Park Limited.
The work of the Terras Trust has been put under scrutiny.
Perhaps they should have contacted Supporters Direct for legal
advice on the matter.
It would be interesting to know how much the land at the
Wessex Stadium is valued. No doubt the planning restrictions
on the site will affect the price.
Former chairmen Ian Ridley and Martyn Harrison have always
insisted there was a clause stopping this kind of deal going
through and I think they fell out over the very same subject.
The talk of moving to a new ground seems to be taken for
granted, but is there a suitable site in or around the town
and what happens if there is nowhere to go?
If a supermarket is interested in buying the ground, how
many years would it take to turn around planning restrictions
and can the club, or Curtis, wait that long?
There are no easy answers to any of these questions.
Let's face it, the club is always going to lose money at
the Wessex Stadium no matter who is running the club.
It's not feasible to have only a guaranteed 23 pay-days a
year with no other major income streams. Something has to
be done and yes this decision has had a mixed reaction but
to do nothing is probably the worse-case scenario.
Because Curtis is a property developer, people are suspicious,
but they will have to put their faith in his decisions and
hope he is making them in the best interests of the club.
Yes, fans are not naïve to think that he will not be
trying to make a profit for himself. That would be unrealistic
and if we were in the same position we would do exactly the